With just about 6 months to go before all full powered analog TV stations cease broadcasting, have you ordered your DTV converter box coupons yet? You have until March 31st of 2009 to apply for the coupons. I purchased two converter boxes including the Digital Stream DTX 9950 and the much hyped Dish Network / Sling Media “DTV Pal.” Both have analog pass-through, which is handy so that I can watch my satellite when the boxes are off. (Of course you can also use that function to watch low powered analog TV stations after the 2/17/09 deadline as well.) As you may know in my area near Cochranton, I can pull in more than one TV market. With Dish only making the Erie TV locals available in my area, it’s a plus to have other markets available with an outdoor antenna. As for the converter boxes themselves, I’ll start with the Digital Stream DTX 9950 at $59.99 +tax. I first purchased the DTX 9900 at Radio Shack but it did not have the analog pass-through like the 9950. Once I heard they had a box with the analog pass-through, I exchanged it. Most boxes do have program listings but what I like about the DTX 9950 is the EPG program listings for a particular channel (when available from a station) which is available for up to 12 hours. You can also see what a particular program is about if you advance further. That and a signal meter which goes up to 100 with the best reception in the green area of the meter. However, the remote has an analog / digital (A/D) button which only serves the same function as the power button. Other than that, the box is really top notch & performs flawlessly. I currently use it on my kitchen TV. Now, the Dish “DTV Pal” at $51.00 (at the time) which just arrived last week. The folks at Echostar / Dish Network decided to release a over the air converter box with similar features to some of their Dish Network satellite receivers. Why? Well that’s a simple question to answer. It’s an alterior motive to possibly get those who purchase a DTV Pal now consider signing up with Dish Network later. (Obviously, I jumped the gun by already having Dish Network.) I decided to get the DTV Pal online through Solid Signal. (There has been a drastic price increase since my order, so shop around for the best deal possible.) The DTV Pal came with a similar Dish remote to the ones for my satellite receiver. However, this remote does not power the TV like the Digital Stream remote does. I solved that problem by using an old Dish Network remote for the box as well as my TV, DVD recorder and sound system. Of course the DTV Pal has analog pass-through but also has a signal meter (which also reads up too 100) you will see every time you change the channel. The EPG is also similar to the one I have on Dish Network. You can see all of the channel listings & what programs are on or will be on up to 7 days in advance. I scanned ahead and was only able to get a day’s worth of program information. (That probably varies from station to station.) Another function that only the DTV Pal currently has is a timer that works with your VCR or DVD recorder. With the kitchen adjacent to the living room, I could not have the DTV Pal in the kitchen because of the remotes on the same frequency. I may accidentally change the channel on the satellite in one room while trying to change the channel on the DTV Pal or vice versa, so I put it in the bedroom in order to avoid such problems. Overall, both converter boxes perform very well for my area and will make both TVs’ useful even after the transition. You are welcome to drop a line or two regarding your converter boxes or if you have any questions before purchasing one.